Author’s Note: Okay, so there’s a bit more with the cameo part, and another one later in the story, but it’s okay. It’s for a good cause. 🙂
Incidentally, friends of Grandpa’s, ones in his car club, have a Schact. I thought it was “shot” at first, too. 😛
“You’ve got your work cut out for you.”
“It’s a project, but it’s one that’s worth doing,” Mackenna said, and Carson tried to smile. He didn’t know how to feel anything less than awkward among the others, people who had apparently known each other for years and could finish each other’s stories and sentences. Their meeting was kind of all over the place, interrupted by pizza and only kept in line by Mary. Otherwise, they might have talked about restoring some car ten years ago instead of what they were there to do—start organizing their next swap meet.
The conversation found its way back to the car in the barn, though, after everyone had seen the pictures. He didn’t know when Mackenna had gotten them developed, but the stack had made the rounds at the table, with some commentary along the way that was as meaningless to him as a foreign language might have been. He didn’t understand any of it.
He didn’t know that a Shacht was a car, either. He’d almost thought they were talking about the murder for a minute with the whole “shot” thing, and he felt like an idiot when he realized it was a car brand, another one he’d never heard of.
Bob was watching him, and Carson didn’t know how long that had been going on. He didn’t know if that qualified as spacing out or not this time. “You don’t think it is?”
Carson frowned. “I wouldn’t know. I don’t know much of anything about cars. It used to be a gag, giving me cars as toys because of my name, and maybe that led to me running in the opposite direction, but I’ve never been a mechanic. You should see my other car.”
“That’s not your fault, though. You didn’t ask for a drunk to hit it.”
He shrugged. He still had a wreck that he couldn’t fix—two of them, actually. “I know, but there’s still nothing that I can do about it.”
“I could, but I think that Phantom’s worth it and that one isn’t.”
Bob nodded, and he wasn’t the only one who did. None of them seemed to argue with Mackenna’s decision about his car—and none of them had seen it. He had to assume that was the bias they all had toward their classics and antiques.
“You might ask in New London. I know there’s a man who brings a Maxwell Messenger to the run, one almost exactly like yours. Even has the wooden spokes on the wheels.”
“That’s great,” Mackenna said, grinning. “You’ll get to see what yours can look like when we’re done with it.”
Simon smiled. “Should we give you a registration form, Carson? I have a feeling you’ll be joining us soon. There’s really no stopping Mackenna when she gets started, and she’s been looking for a project like this for a long time.”
“I should hit you for that.”
Carson shook his head. “I don’t know that I need a membership just yet. I kind of figure the car will end up with the person who put the work into it, not me. I’m in transition at the moment, with a lot to figure out—new job, new place to live, new memories to uncover… I’ve got too much to do, and as I said before—I’m not a mechanic.”
“You don’t have to drive the cars or fix them to join.”
“You’d really just let go of Phantom like that?” Mackenna asked, staring at him. “I don’t understand. How can you do that?”
“She belongs to you more than me, Mackenna. I think that’s been clear from the beginning.”
“Yeah, sure,” she muttered, getting out of her seat, and Carson winced as she walked away from the table. He hadn’t meant to upset her—shouldn’t she be happy to get the car? That was her dream, wasn’t it? She’d loved it from the first time she saw it, and she should get to keep it if she was going to do the work on it.
“Oh, boy,” Simon said, shaking his head. Carson reached for his water, trying to find a way to make this whole thing less awkward.
Mac grunted. “You have no idea what you just did, do you?”
“No, I don’t. I thought she’d want the car.”
“There’s something else she wants a whole lot more than the car.”